January 6, 2021
How to Fight Virtual Fatigue and Make Buyers Feel Connected in 2021
This piece is brought to you by Sendoso Director of Corporate Marketing Brianna Valleskey.
The past year taught us to expect the unexpected.
Our marketing, sales, and CX playbooks needed to evolve because traditional tactics weren’t an option. In the same way we had to change how we connected with family and friends, we had to change our approach for buyers and customers too.
But even as we solved one problem after another, new ones began to emerge. Because in-person engagement was limited, companies went all-in on digital tactics: Since March 2020, marketing emails increased by 62%, virtual events by 1,000%, sales calls by 28%, and ad spend by 22%. Digital fatigue reached record highs with the unprecedented new levels of web conferences and, as a result, “Zoom fatigue.”
As we look toward 2021, some marketing leaders predict a similar phenomenon will occur with webinars and virtual events.
“Virtual events explode but paradoxically become even less effective as ‘virtual event fatigue’ kicks in and the low net and ROI and experiential value of virtual events becomes evident,” says Paul Sebastien, CMO of Offensive Security. “This will force a re-think of what virtual events need to deliver on, and will likely evolve into a new breed of hybrid events or truly innovative new ways to engage people who are broadly distributed.”
There are certainly challenges ahead, but we still need to build meaningful relationships and drive revenue. 2020 helped our revenue organizations build the muscles for adaptation. Here’s how we should be using them in 2021.
What 2021 Has in Store for Revenue Organizations
We recently asked our community of marketers, salespeople, and executives for their predictions for trends in direct and mail and offline engagement, as well as virtual events and creative experiences. Digital fatigue did emerge as a theme, but so did the strategies to battle it: creativity, agility, and connection.
Creativity still wins
Organizations embraced creativity and out-of-the-box thinking in 2020, and industry leaders predict that continued innovation will be a driving force in 2021.
“Standard SDR (phone, email, linkedIn) and digital marketing investments alone can’t drive exponential growth unless your company is ‘right place, right time,’” says Ray Carrol, VP of Sales at SkillJar and former sales leader at Marketo and Engagio (acquired by Demandbase). “Offline and direct mail will continue to increase as creativity and “standing out” becomes even more important in the sea of robo-spam and 10/80/10 outbound emails and LinkedIn touches.”
A report from chiefmartec.com and WPP titled “Martech 2030” released last year highlights creativity as one of the human talents that will continue to be central to marketing’s success not just in the next year, but over the next decade: “Broad-based creativity and imagination. Empathy with other humans for understanding and persuasion. Intuition from experience. Collaboration within the organization and across the boundaries of the firm with agencies, clients, and partners. The pursuit of meaning and purpose and effectively communicating it to others.”
Agility moves from “nice” to “need”
Some may return to offices or physical events in 2021, while others will go remote permanently or have reduced opportunities to meet face-to-face. ServiceMax VP of Demand Marketing and Operations Pat Oldenberg thinks virtual events will be prevalent until the second half of the year, when hybrid or full in-person events will take (back) over.
Given the uncertainty of if and when in-person engagement becomes possible, revenue teams must be nimble in the year ahead, with diverse strategies and a variety of ways to engage buyers and customers.
“2020 has taught us that unpredictable forces can suddenly tilt an entire market in one direction or another. We will need to clearly identify the pillars of our market positioning, understand the dependencies, and then prepare to turn on a dime as the market shifts,” shares go-to-market consultant April Dunford in a 2021 marketing trends and predictions report from MarketingProfs. “We are in deeply uncertain times, and we need to be agile above all else. CMOs who understand the exact elements that impact their market positioning fundamentals will be much better prepared to react to changes.
Connection is everything
The lines between work and life continue to blur, and B2B consumers will look for a more personalized, B2C-like experience that makes them feel connected in 2021.
Duo Security Global GTM & Strategy Leader Alana Ballon says we’ll see better networking and engagement, with companies racing to provide something more unique and that provides more interaction between humans to build true connections.
“We’ve been disconnected from human-to-human interaction in 2020, and depersonalized automation has been building that disconnection for years,” she says. “Businesses that flourish in 2021 will be the ones focusing on using their systems, automation, and processes to personalize and foster a human connection. Customers are craving deep personalization now more than ever, and those businesses that find a way to connect deeper with their audiences are going to be the ones that win.”
Sending is the Best Way to Connect in 2021
Sales, marketing, and CX teams must fight virtual fatigue in 2021 with more creative and agile outreach that builds true human connections. And Sendoso is critical to achieving that—just ask Jessica Fernandez, a demand generation manager at Rapid7:
Sending is the most effective way to stand out, build a lasting brand impression, and drive revenue with virtual experiences, eGifts, personalized gifts, and branded swag. It solves the challenges of staying creative, agile, and connected to your audience—no matter what tactics you’re using or where your audience is in the world.
In 2020, we enabled our customers to book more meetings, drive pipeline and revenue, and increase virtual event ROI. We’ve always believed that relationships are achievable in a cluttered, digital world. And whatever happens in the coming year, we’re confident we can help our customers connect with their buyers and hit their critical revenue goals.
We at Sendoso are wishing everyone tremendous success in the coming year. Best of luck in 2021, and happy sending.